Student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were honored by the Pulitzer Prize Board for their work memorializing 17 classmates and coaches killed in a shooting last year in Parkland, Florida.

Eight students and the faculty adviser of The Eagle Eye newspaper traveled to New York for the honorary luncheon.

Rebecca Schneid, 17, co-editor-in-chief of the school paper, told USA Today, “Obviously the work that we did after the shooting was the hardest thing that we ever had to do, but it was also the most important thing that we’ve ever done.”

She said the students wanted to attend the luncheon to “show that student journalism has a place in society and that it deserves to be recognized if it’s exemplary.”

This image taken from video shows singer Jennifer Hudson embracing student jo
This image taken from video shows singer Jennifer Hudson embracing student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who were recognized at the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners awards luncheon at Columbia University in New York, May 28, 2019.

The Eagle Eye staff submitted their package of obituaries to the public service category of the annual Pulitzer Prize awards that recognize exceptional work by U.S. newspapers, magazines and news sites.

The student newspaper did not win, but during the April announcement of the awards, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy spoke of her “sincere admiration” for their entry and said they “give us all hope for the future of journalism.”

“The Eagle Eye’s submission stated that the student reporters and editors had to ‘put aside our grief and recognize our roles as both survivors, journalists and loved ones of the deceased,'” Canedy said.”These budding journalists remind us of the media’s unwavering commitment to bearing witness — even in the most wrenching of circumstances — in service to a nation whose very existence depends on a free and dedicated press.”

Julie Edwards, editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, which won the Pulitzer in the public service category for its coverage of the shooting, told the Parkland students, “We did this for you guys.”